October 11, 2013 marked an important event in the MOBA history in the Philippines as the second generation free-to-play MOBA, Strife finally hits our shores. We were lucky enough to be one of the first to experience the game on a secured server before its grand launch worldwide. We’re also given the privilege to sit down with the Director of Monetization at S2 Games and Lead System Designer for Strife, Pu Liu and Ryan Shackelford, Creative Game Designer for Strife.
Francis: As the developer of the successful Heroes of Newerth, what have you learned so far that influence you to develop Strife?
Ryan: I think we’ve learned a lot. This isn’t just from developing HoN but also from playing games for a long time. We’ve learned about what kind of emotions we feel when you’re in the laning phase with your teammate. A lot of these feeling that as a player and a developer, maybe the game not feels good. You sort of feel anger towards your teammates, and things like that. As tohse are the main things that we want to think about in Strife.
Francis: How many heroes are we talking about at launch or the public beta at least?
Ryan: The current roster is definitely not the final number of heroes. We’re rapidly adding heroes and more rapidly during closed beta. After release we definitely want to slow it down for we’ll make sure that we’re adding content. Right now we have very small, we definitely want to ramp it up but we don’t want to ramp it up super quickly.
Francis: Are you restricted by what characters other players are choosing? For example if someone picked Rook, am I allowed to pick him as well?
Ryan: Each team can have the same hero but within the same team they can only have one of the hero.
Francis: Are there any Hard Cap on Stats?
Ryan: Right now, I don’t think that we do. Currently there is no way that you can buy an item but it won’t do something for you because you’re at the cap.
Francis: Do you have any plans to support client modifications?
Pu: We don’t have final plans for it yet. We wanna focus on getting the game for beta. Then, our core focus in beta will be that if players want the game to look different or function different in a way. We wanna make those changes not have players mod it differently because we are making the game better for everyone.
Francis: Does Strife have a unique approach into the typical MOBA’s Laning Phase?
Ryan: One thing that makes laning phase in Strife different is the way we earn gold for killing minions. So if you kill a brawler in Strife and you earn 60 gold, the 60 gold will be split between the people in the area, so if you’re 2 players in the lane each of you will earn 30 gold. If you don’t hit the last hit between you and your ally, you don’t get any gold but one of you gets the last hit then both of you get the 30 gold. But if you’re on solo lane, you can’t get more than 30 gold. Then, the extra 30 gold actually split between the entire team so you still get 36 gold. The idea behind that is like let’s say i’m in the solo lane, and you come to gank for me to help me out; I don’t wanna feel like just by your presence being there is you’re taking gold away from me so by making it set by default I can’t get more than 30 gold and you’re not actually taking it from me.
On top of that, we also have the mechanic of the out of combat regeneration where if you get out of combat meaning you haven’t taken damage or you’re not dealing damage for a certain period of time then you actually get bonus health and mana regeneration.
So if your melee was harassed so badly and he’s like in 30% hp, in other games you might have to go all the way and teleport home then run back. In our game you may get out of combat for regeneration for like 45 or 30 seconds then come back while your ally in the lane gets the last hits and you got credits for him. There’s still some disadvantage for getting low in hp but you don’t have to go out of the experience range or gold range so you’re still kind of getting the gold or experience but you’re just kind out of the loop for a little time. It is a little less punishing, it means you don’t have to go back and heal as often and also encourages a lot of teamwork between two people in the lane.
Regeneration items are definitely still necessary. The way it works is actually out of combat regeneration multiplies your heroes generation so if you buy regeneration items, your out of combat regeneration is even better. It’s funny because specially later in the game you see players who do buy a lot of regeneration items it gets to a point where it’s like when they get a teamfight and they get down to 30% life and they get out of combat for 20 seconds, all of a sudden they’re back to like 80% life. It adds a different kind of playstyle for your hero.
Francis: Can you tell us more about the watch towers compared to the commonly known wards? [Click here for the VIDEO version]
Pu: Watch towers for us are a great solution for multiple reasons. It takes the burden and emphasis of way a player sacrificing part of his resources to the amount of vision for his team. Also shifts it away from a maintenance state. Wards in DOTA, LoL, HoN, they’re very much about taking one player’s gold usually the support player and you run around and place the wards and you gotta make sure that a new ward is up before the old one dies, maybe they counter dewards, keeping the other one up and it’s about keeping their map lit at all times and if ever it’s dark you get yelled at. So it’s a very tedious kind of maintenance game that’s not very much fun because you’re giving all your gold to it. While these watch towers however not only does it not cost you anything but it’s more on demand. It’s not about – Ok, i’m gonna make sure at 2mins and 45 secs i’ll go back over there and light that. It’s more about – Ok, we’re about to have a fight in this area let’s light that so we can see the enemies as they approach we’ll get this tactical advantage.
Ryan: It’s also much more intuitive, making the game much more approachable for new players and the games like HoN, LoL – the wards system, because they’re invisible you actually don’t really know if the enemy can see you. They’re much to like warding our counter-warding all over the place, for all you know they could be seeing you for all times. We really want the idea of vision in Strife be a very well understood concept, and that if they don’t have that tower lit and you know you’re in the bush or you’re in a high ground you know that they cannot see you. So the gameplay is a lot more structured you get to actually understand the rules that you’re playing with even more. Also, it creates a lot of tactical of fights where you might be like specially when you’re around Krytos and Baldir (the main team objective area), there’s watch tower on either side you actually get to pull like tactical play or teams are actually kind of flanking so they have the advantage in the area so that should create a lot of fun.
Pu Liu also added some information about Gear Sets. “Gear Sets are cosmetic addons that we are going to release. There’ll be a lot of gear sets as cosmetic options for the players. On top of that, a lot of dyes for each of those gear sets so players can really customize.”
Strife is scheduled to enter Beta in Q4 2013 with a full release in early 2014. Keep on checking our website and Facebook page for more Strife news and beta key giveaway!